On January 21st. the Sharks will play host to The Los Angeles Kings and you pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down! This is your semi regular officially unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.
*Please note the stats below were accurate the afternoon of January 20th.*
Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks
Current Record (W-L-OTL): 24-17-6, 54 Points and 3rd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 5-4-1
Power Play: 20.5% (9th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.5% (13th.)
Current Streak: 2 game losing streak. (OT vs. The Flames and regulation vs. the devils.)
Notes: Sharks lead the flames by a point and are 2 points ahead of the kings for the final divisional playoff spot in the Pacific Division
Know Your Enemy - Los Angeles Kings
Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 20-14-12, 52 Points and 5th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 2-3-5
Power Play: 19.2% (13th.)
Penalty Kill: 78.7% (25th.)
Current Streak: 2 back to back losses in OT.
Notes: Although they have not been great this year, I still expect them to not only make the playoffs but contend because counting the LA Kings out of anything just feels stupid at this point.
***Warning Adult Conversation about the Kings alert... if you are waiting for to tell you why the kings are terrible because they are big ca-ca heads just stop reading now***
Ian Breaks Down The Kings: I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the Road to the Stadium Series show because honestly guys the Kings have been just as much as a what the hell happened as the Sharks this year. Now of course the difference between the two teams is that the Kings seem to be able to put it together when it matters making them a very dangerous team on the upcoming stretch drive. There are some players having some serious down years though. For example I don't think anyone saw Kopitar's production falling off so badly this year. (Because the LA Kings have to fuck me in every way possible including fantasy). No one knows what has happened to Mike Richards, I bet Lombardi is kicking himself for not buying him out when he had the chance. Their biggest problem in my mind though is the absence of Slava Voynov. Now I get that allegedly (due process and all that) he is the worst person to walk the face of the earth but he's kind of good at this hockey thing. I attribute a great deal to his absence on the blue line and cap crunch that followed for the Kings predicament right now. It will be interesting to see how this trial goes and if / when he returns to the Kings. I appreciate the moral outrage over this issue but I'm not sold that if he can return the Kings would not allow him back because at the end of the day it's a business and frankly other cities have statues in front of their arena of guys who have done the exact same thing. Different times? Sure. With Martin Jones on the IR I'd expect Jonathan Quick to make the start. Quick's career numbers vs. the Sharks are (12-5-5, 2.49 GAA and 9.11 SV%). The Kings are coming off back to back overtime losses.
Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: The Sharks are frankly a mess, they are coming off a humbling 5-2 loss to the lowly Devils in a game where they lost defenceman Justin Brawn and winger Tommy Wingels for "awhile". This devastates an already thin D-corps. I know some people are sour on Braun and even I made a point of talking about him solely in the last GBU but the fact remains he is still probably the 2nd best defenceman on the team when it comes to actually playing defence. Maybe that's just another way of saying our D is shit but still he eats 20 minutes a night that will now have to be eaten by someone else. I'm expecting the going forward defence pairs to be Vlasic - Burns, Dillon - Tennyson, Hannan - Irwin... yep it's about to get ugly. I guess the big question now is what does DW do... to me they stand pat see who they can get a look at and hope they finish in the top 8, I don't think this team has shown us anything this year that makes it seem like a good idea to give away some futures so the crappy uninspired team we have now can make damn sure we lose in the first round, 2nd if lucky. If you look at goal differential in the standings to spot the pretender I'd like you to show me the other playoff team with a -3 and tell me they are for real. Spoiler alert you can't because all the other playoff teams have at worse a +4. For comparison sake the Wild Card Flames and Jets have an identical +14. I know I'm going to get flack for being so negative because this is an anomaly, but really this year aren't the stretches of good play an anomaly? It feels like time and time again I'm beating a dead horse about 60 minute games and just showing up. After Stalock's dreadful outing one can only assume that Antti Niemi will return to the net for the Sharks which is fine by me as his career numbers against the kings are (13-7-3, 2.37 GAA and a .924 SV%).
My Prediction: Sharks lose, only because I have predicted wins the last two games and I'd like to continue to be wrong. Honestly though the Sharks are in tough here missing key pieces my confidence is about as low as its gets.
Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca
What are your thoughts on this game?